Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

South Dakota Day 4 Shopping in Custer and Buffalo

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Tuesday, we wanted the horse with the sore leg continue to heal, hoping that she would be sound to ride later in the week.

We did some sightseeing, visited some shops in Custer, went through the French Creek campground, and toured the Wildlife Loop.

Since last weekend, motorcycles, from all over the US, were in Sturgis. Motorcycles were everywhere!

All shapes and sizes, to both riders and bikes. Lots of Harleys! Everyone was in black leather, and on some, there wasn’t very much!!! Can you imagine shorts just a little bit more that a black leather thong? Geez! I’ll stick to leather chaps and half chaps! Custer, and nearby Hill City, are about an hour away from Sturgis. I can’t imagine how many motorcycles are there! In Hill City, they closed down main street to cars and trucks, because only the bikes can get through!

On the way to Custer, we saw one, lonely buffalo, and decided he was an older male who got kicked out of the herd by the younger, stronger males. Later, along the Wildlife Loop, we were delighted and excited to see a large herd of buffalo. And not only 1 group, but a 2nd group. The first group traveled out of the trees and across an open area.

We drove down the road and into a parking lot. The herd passed within 30’ of us, in an unfenced field.

A park ranger asked us to stay in our trucks as they were moving the buffalo past the parking lot. We felt like we were part of the herding!

We saw a 2nd herd, that stopped to drink water in the creek.

Once again we were lucky enough to park inside a small parking lot before a lot of people got there. We had front seats as the buffalo came to the creek, about 20’ away.

It was breathtaking to see the herd up close, yet inside or near the safety of the truck. When some of the herd crossed the creek to come to our side, we immediately got in the truck.

Being Sturgis weekend, bikes were soon everywhere near the buffalo. Not everyone was respectful of the buffalo and their young, as one cow snorted and half charged at 2 guys when her calf got too close to the guys. Talk about how this is how to get hurt or die! I wouldn’t have parked my bikes so close. One bike, with 2 people on it, were only 10’ from the nearest guy. He did start his bike, which seemed to irritate the closest buffalo, but they did move away and back into a field. The buffalo have to be used to traffic, as they got very close to the road and the motorcycles who were going back and forth.

If I was one of those bikers, I don’t think I would want one of those buffalo 10-20’ from me and my bike as I drove past them.

Some came down to the creek to drink. Some moved along the trail.

Some crossed the creek to graze in the tall grass.

Standing there by the truck, it didn’t even seem that we existed to the buffalo. I had stayed near the truck, moving from in front of the truck when the buffalo came up to the creek to standing on the running board when the buffalo crossed the creek and got closer. I knew what they could do if angered, and I rapidly stepped into the truck when they where within feet of us, even though I was on the opposite side of the truck.

The view of the buffalo among the trees made it seem like something right out of a movie. It gave me goose bumps. The buffalo were spread along the whole hillside, moving in and out of the trees.

I will always remember that hillside viewing of the buffalo herd.

We saw some deer with a young, spotted fawn. We spotted many antelope.

And we saw some young turkeys. And it was fun to see so many different colored donkeys. The mares and babies were so tame. We laughed as the donkeys would stand in the middle of the road, holding up traffic.

We stopped to shop some more. We are going to make dream catchers with items that seem relevant to the trip. At one of the store, they had miniature stone cutouts of animals. We picked a horse that was similar in color to our own horse. We picked a while buffalo, which is held sacred to the Indians. Perfect! Later that week, we found other items, a small pinecone, some flowers to dry, pine needles, small stones. This will be a special piece of history, as well as a symbolic artwork of our South Dakota trip.

We picked up dead tree branches on the way back to the campground. You are not allowed to haul in lumber. We plan on taking a trail ride in the morning, and coming back to enjoy a campfire at night!

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